Voicemail is a nice feature in modern phone systems, especially in VoIP calling service. Visual voicemail adds some user-friendly to it, making it easier to retrieve and manage voice messages.
To better understand what visual voicemail is, compare it to traditional voicemail. Traditionally, when you have a number of voicemails, you normally hear an automated voice telling you something that would resemble this:
“You have 3 voice messages. The first message is …”
Then you would hear the first one. This loops until you hear the last, and after each message, you are recited a number of options like:
“To listen to the message again, press 2; to delete the message, press 3; to listen to the next message...bla, bla...”
With visual voicemail, you have a list of the voicemail messages displayed on your phone’s screen or that of your computer. You also have a menu with several options, just like for email. The options allow you to navigate, arrange, manage, listen, re-listen, delete, call back, send back a message etc.
Visual voicemail also has the advantage of giving you, in one glimpse, a series of important information about all the voicemail messages, like the caller, time, duration etc. This allows you to save a tremendous amount of time, that which you would have spent with traditional audio voicemail retrieval.
At the time I am writing this, not many services offer visual voicemail, and not many mobile phones and handsets support it. It will however become something common, a standard in VoIP services and mobile handsets, as it is a definite improvement over traditional voicemail retrieval. Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Instinct and a couple of BlackBerry devices support visual voicemail.
Visual voicemail also works with voicemail-to-text transcription, a feature that transcribes the audio message into text to be read instead of listened to.